Watched, Read, Loved: June and July 2017

*warning: gargantuan post ahead*

I want to start every post now with “yes, it’s me, and I am still alive”. What a couple of months this has been! July has hands down just been the slowest month in everything for me. It was a roller coaster – I was away in Nelspruit end of June to bid my bestie goodbye, then for two weeks in Potchefstroom for university work and then I had to rush to finalize my younger sister’s 21st birthday. And when I looked down at the date it was suddenly the 19th of July and there were no blog posts from me! SHOCK, HORROR. So I am trying to move my blog into activity again, and herewith some of my favorite posts, a Watched, Read, Loved list for both June and July. I really hope to be back to full time blogging in August, I’ve really missed everyone and the feeling of having a creative outlet.

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I started off June by watching Wonder Woman (2017). I’m not really a weeper, but let me tell you I was misty eyed reading some of the truly excellent tributes that poured in. Little girls in costumes, women everywhere just flooding cinemas to watch a superhero films and all the financial and critical acclaim that accompanied this film just filled my heart. I can’t do any more justice to this excellent work of director Patty Jenkins that has already been done, but I assure you that I will always try.

Say Anything

I also saw Say Anything (1987) for the first time. I can now put a film to the iconic John Cusack pose that is everywhere on the internet, and I’m not really surprised that I enjoyed this film because it is right up my alley. It is a short, fun and easy watch and really good in its’ genre. I must post its review soon but a severe case of apathy towards typing out reviews has taken hold of me at this stage.

 

I also saw Rules Don’t Apply (2016) which has the unfortunate distinction of being one fantastic box office fail. It’s not really bad, it is just frustratingly boring. It could have been great with its excellent set design and costumes, solid acting and notable performances. It just lacked heart and a decent turn of events.

I picked up Mother’s Day (2016) to watch with my own mother, because I can promise you Gary Marshall won’t be putting too risqué sex scenes in any of his films. I was right – there is little to no romance. If you can get past the notion that Jennifer Aniston is supposed to be the old, washed out mom in here, you will likely enjoy it. Julia Roberts is hidden under the most horrible wig I have ever seen, but the film is sparingly okay and has some legitimately funny moments in. It also casts Jason Sudeikis, and I have never seen him in anything except this and that godawful We’re the Millers – can someone tell me why he’s famous?

I also watched Bad Moms (2016) which was rather fun and hilarious. I know, I was shocked too.

Then there was Jackie (2016), a movie that got an Oscar nod for Natalie Portman. While her performance certainly deserves a nod, the movie itself is quite slow and not really worth the hype.

On the Afrikaans movie front I watched Platteland again. It is such an intense musical, and as Afrikaans as can be. I really do have a fondness of locally produced movies, and my plan to branch a part of this blog off into local films will hopefully happen sometime.

Homecoming

Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) was a first of three July cinema watches for me. I really still struggle to formulate thoughts on this film. I sincerely didn’t hate it, but I have struggled to see the reason for Spiderman for years now, and this reboot even more so. Tom Holland is okay I guess. I particularly liked Zendaya. I think it is safe to say while I still have time for amazing and new superhero films (such as Wonder Woman), the generic Marvel film has become somewhat of a repetitive bore.

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I still cannot believe that I refreshed my makeup, made sure my outfit was okay and went out on a damn Friday night (this is torture for me) to watch Valerian and a City of a thousand planets. You will see that review hopefully Friday, but heads-up: I hated it.

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I also saw Dunkirk this last weekend and that at least was worth my time. Christopher Nolan is the salve to every hurt a bombastic Bay/Snyder movie throws out, and the beautiful, heart wrenching film hit me quite in the feels.

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Series:

Yes, I know. I need to tame this wild Pride and Prejudice obsession that has gotten over me. Not only did I see the 2005 film AGAIN – this is in addition to the watch I did in May of it, I also got my hands on the 1995 series version of it. I am a bit torn. I’ve read far and wide that it is the best adaption, and while it is certainly the most faithful adaption, I really hated the score – classical music makes me want to pull my hair out.

I finally started watching Alias season 4. It isn’t bad, still has plenty of Michael Vartan in, and I want to finish it before it somehow gets spoiled by the internet for me.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 6: Season five of this vampire-tastic show took me ages to finalize. It was slow, badly planned and really unimaginative in some places. I am glad to report that season six is wonderful – it is the first season with really legitimately funny moments in, and I am having a fantastic time.

Game of Thrones Season 7: This is still ongoing and I am avoiding people or comments like the plague who have watched it – the internet is the rudest place ever.

books

On the reading front I haven’t been exactly revolutionary, but I have picked up Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon. I have never read anything by this author, and I am really enjoying it so far. It is fast paced plot and is well written with likeable characters. I didn’t think I would like a lawyery story, but it seems I was mistaken. I’ve hit a lag with it, and should really finish it up. I’ve slightly changed my opinion with the events that just loops all the time.

I have reread a bunch of Nora Roberts novels – Blue Smoke, The Obsession and some small ones which I really can’t recall the names of. I’ve also picked up Jewels of the Sun and Tears of the Moon, and I will review the entire trilogy once I am finished with the third book.

come sundown

I am also now reading Come Sundown – I did all the dance moves when I got a special on Loot (online shopping rocks) for this new release of Roberts. I always weep because I’m just not okay with forking out the prices retailers ask in South-Africa for new releases, so this was quite a score. I can tell you now that there is something different to Come Sundown. I will see how it ends, but it is one of the most unique books Roberts has ever done, and the tone is quite different from what she usually does.

I also should really get in to finalizing those 100 Happy Days post on here. They are just so much work and admin that I am not in the mood. I did finish the challenge, and you can few that all on my Instagram account.

As for adventures, I quickly went down to my bestie to see her one more time before she goes on her international adventure. The next time I see her will be in London, which at this stage is simply mind boggling to me.

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Series Review: Alias Season 1 (2002)

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What I liked:

  • The pilot episode – so long and intense and comprehensive. It had a lot to cover and managed to get the events in without becoming boring. And that red wig man.
  • The relationship dynamic – Sydney and her university friends, with her father, the extremely complex one she develops with Arvin Sloane and the complicated work relationship she finds herself in with Michael Vaughn. Her relationship with her SD 6 partner Dixon is prototype cop/spy partner relationship – extreme faith and support and I really liked that.
  • The actors – Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Bradley Cooper, Victor Garber, Carl Lumbly, Kevin Weisman, MerrinDungey
  • The story and how heartbreaking it when you sit think it through – Sydney’s loss of her fiancé, the awful reveal of what SD6 is and her turning against them, and the knowledge that most of the people within the ranks of SD6 truly believe that they are working as a clandestine operation for the CIA.

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  • Can we just talk about the episodes with Quentin Tarantino in? I laughed and laughed despite the desperate situation of the characters. He is SO bad. The man is such an insanely talented director but that where it stops – like keep him of the screen haha.
  • The progress Sydney and Jack makes as father and daughter. Sydney has legitimate issues with her father – he can be cold and removed and is terrifying to boot. When she learns that he works for the people that had her fiancé slaughtered, they take another knock. That is not the end to the story and the two learn to trust and rely on each other and become more comfortable with each other as the show goes on.
  • Vaughn’s relationship with Eric Weiss. I DO like Eric. He is such a comedic drive to the show and full of quips.
  • JJ Abrams is such a champion of women. Sydney Bristow’s is loyal to her friends, sweet, kind, intelligent, kick ass and caring. She’s written as a multi-dimensional character that saves herself and those around her. I really enjoy the character and appreciate how she was written and brought to life by Jennifer Garner.
  • It would be easy to be annoyed with Will Trippin – he’s so sweet and kind and totally inlove with Sydney, and a complete spanner in the wheel where certain other people are concerned. Yet he manages to be sweet without being annoying and kind without coming across as insincere. He’s also a good journalist with a nose for a story and I suffered untold horrors about this character. Bradley Cooper is so sweet and young in here.
  • I thought Sark (David Anders) made the perfect villain. He is so cold and collected and young at the same time. He’s not that often seen in this season, but his introduction is chilling and mind teasing.

What I didn’t like:

  • The Francie stories –don’t get me wrong, I like Francie and her role in Sydney’s life, but Francie’s love life is completely NOT what this show is about.
  • Sydney’s mother – this started to irritate me even this early on. I think Alias has enough to deal with without bringing another character into the equation.
  • Anna Espinosa – she seemed like a pointless exercise to be the girl-Sydney-must-fight.

Rating: 8.5/10

I really enjoyed this season and it was such a good choice to visit again! I’ve already finished the second season, which was almost as good, and can’t wait to finish it all!

December 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Happy 2017 everyone! I pretty much disappeared from the blog in December. I needed a break. I often am way too harsh on myself about blogging – wanting desperately to post five times a week. It is important to remind myself though that blogging is supposed to be fun and for times where I actually have the time. So I gave it a bit of a break and I am back feeling all refreshed!

It was also quite a sad December globally with the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. It seemed like 2016 kept knocking everyone down and I am really glad it ended. Let’s hope for a peaceful and fantastic 2017.

Series Watched:

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Vampire Diaries Season 5: I am currently stalling with this season. It is a pretty rotten season and by far the worst of all the seasons so far. I need to finish it up but definitely not feeling all the bullshit of the season.

Alias season 1 and 2: EEK! I am having so much fun! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to review this.

Movies Watched:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars movie. It was good, great excitement and all. I did like The Force Awakens better though.

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Memento: This was my second last blindspot for 2016. It is mind tingling and interesting, well directed and acted. Definitely worthy of watching, despite me taking ages to get it done!

Annie: I put this on for my mother to watch. It was okay – very singy and full of children but not overly offensive. It’s definitely a film that parents can watch with their children without wanting to cry because it is so boring.

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Twilight: I had such a weak moment! Want to review them all at some stage again.

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Scream 1, 2 and 3: this was so much fun. I’m planning to do the fourth one soon. Great entertainment!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Same here. I am having way too much fun with these old school thrillers.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  second time watching this and I loved it way too much.

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The DUFF: I am racking up the watches on this film. I showed it to my mom and my bestie on separate occasions and they both really enjoyed it. Why so much hate against this film? I know it is completely different from the book, but the additions worked really well.

The Departed: The Departed is a film my bestie has told me to watch or be disowned. So I watched it with her just to make sure she had the evidence and everything 😀 did I like it? Yeah. Excellent performances and directing all around. I got a bit exhausted with the length of it, and that is about the only thing I didn’t like.

Me Before You (2016): after reading the thought provoking book I was quite amped for the film. I pushed it back when the reviews didn’t garner the most promising reviews I pushed it back. Bestie and I watched it on our visit, and it was okay. Not really bad, but Me Before You doesn’t carry as much emotional baggage as the book does.

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Cruel Intentions: What a deranged film. I enjoyed it, but wow, deranged. Not something to watch with your parents, if you weren’t already aware.

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Ocean’s Eleven:  I really liked this! Heist films done right is a treat for the soul man. Clooney and Pitt together? There can’t be a better idea out there.

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Seven:  I got to see a young Brad Pitt as the excitable and young cop and Morgan Freeman as the intelligent, calm cop. It’s quite dark and deals with a demented serial killer. It had a dark and depressing atmosphere.

Books Read:

Dawson’s Creek – this is a compilation of short stories based on the series. I’d love to watch the series at some stage, but the book isn’t worth reviewing.

The Collaborator – Margaret Leroy – I can’t wait to post this! I really loved the book, and was so unhappy when I finished it.

The Martian – Andy Weir. The Martian was my favorite film of 2015, and I really wanted to get my hands on the novel. However, I’m struggling at this stage to get through it as it contains some unnecessary jargon in my opinion.

What were you up to in December? Tell me!

Marvelous Mondays: Elektra 2005 by the IPC

Once again, another Monday is upon us. I am here to make it happy for you by posting a review of Elektra, produced by Pappy, who blogs over at the IPC.  Pappy (or Eric, he has many names), has the funniest blog I have ever stumbled across. He hosts Shitfest about four times a year, and if you are interested in doing a most fun blogathon, I suggest you keep your little eyes open for the next opportunity. Thanks for participating Pappy!!!

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Here’s the deal with me and this movie. When Daredevil came out back in the day I was REALLY out on Ben AFFLACK and refused to go see it (I still haven’t but I actually like the guy now). So when this came out, I read all of the bad things everyone had to say about it and didn’t feel like giving it a shot in case AFFLACK and his shit-eating face showed up. So, when Kidney announced this run and I looked at the list, I thought, “Hey, why not?? We could have something here for the next shitfest!” and gave it a look.

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For those of you that don’t know me, I look at a lot of shitty movies. It’s what I’ve done my whole life.  I would always walk to the video store and just rent whatever was new. I’ve also never been a real big fan of mainstream movies, for the most part. I like to find little films that no one else has ever seen and they’re my little secret. All of this is to put something in perspective – I watch a LOT of bad movies. Movies that are so bad they hurt.  I’m also not one of those people that ONLY watch things I’m going to like and give everything a 4 out of 5 or a nine out of ten.  So, when I tell you that I thought this movie was pretty OK, and you return with “WHAT THE FUCK ISAACS YOU IDIOT!!!!!” I challenge you to watch something like GREEN RIVER or THE LEGEND OF SORROW CREEK or CLOSETS and then come back and tell me how much Elektra sucks.

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This isn’t a GREAT movie or anything, but after hearing so much negativity about it, I have to ask – what were the haters expecting? I don’t really know dick about the character from the comics – for some reason I thought she was Russian but I could be confusing her with someone else, Daredevil was never my favorite.  I thought Garner did a good job as the character. She seemed to be no nonsense and wasn’t acting up like some ham or something. I thought SOME of the fight scenes were done pretty well and, despite some dodginess in the last big battle, I was surprised at how much I didn’t hate it.

Now, I’m not recommending anyone to drop everything they’re doing, pull up their pants and run out to the fucking store to buy it, but it certainly wasn’t THAT bad. In fact, if you’re going to give this a go, I suggest you have an appetizer of DIMPLES, ROGUE RIVER or ROOM 33. Then watch Elektra. Then let’s go have a beer. Or nineteen. THANKS KIDNEY!!!!

THANKS PAPPY!!!

PS: If you are interested, see the list here and get back to me!

Ghosts of Girlfriends past (2009)

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Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less, and he was right. But power isn’t happiness, and I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people rather than less…

Connor Mead is a successful photographer, and a dog. With a notorious dating resume, he attracts women by the dozen whom he then proceeds to treat horribly and dump in batches when he gets bored. He always tries to push it off to his assistant, Melanie (NoureenDeWulf) but she, as the only female constant in his life, always easily tells him to do it himself. He never knows that she consoles all the broken women afterwards.

Connor is expected home for the wedding of his brother Paul (Breckin Meyer) to the usually delightful Sandra (Lacey Chabert), who is under some stress as the bride to be. Connor is immediately noticed by three of the bridal attendants, but Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner) remains unimpressed by his antics because she’s seen it too often to be amused. They have a history going back to their childhood, but now only animosity remains.

Connor tells his brother, very clearly, in front of everyone what he thinks of marriage and his brother’s plans. That night he is visited by the ghost of the first girl he ever slept with, Alison Vandermeesh (Emma Stone), and his legendary fellow dog of an Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas). His uncle tells him that he is living life the wrong way and that he himself wished he had been a better person. Connor scoffs at it because his way of treating females comes from everything his uncle taught him.

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Emma shows him his first love, Jenny, as children where they first fell for each other. Then, he sees Jenny a few years later and that is where his real change came in – he thought she rejected him for the popular jock at school, but she just danced with the said jock because Connor didn’t have the guts to ask him. Heartbroken, the teenage Connor asks his uncle what to do to never feel so sad again and the obviously incapable uncle teaches him how to get a woman, but fails to mention how to love on and treat her right.

As time progresses Connor grows up and steadily turns into the replica of his douche uncle. When he sees Jenny again, they are older and still in school, and he hurts her when he kisses Emma.

Another few years pass and Jenny is a doctor when she meets Connor again where he is an up and coming photographer. They start a courtship, but Connor gets cold feet after they finally sleep together, crushing Jenny.

Back in the present, Connor has managed to stir up a fair bit of trouble by accidentally destroying the wedding cake and letting it slip that his brother slept with one of the bridesmaids just when he and his future wife started dating. Trouble is brewing and Jenny is getting more annoyed by his destructive ways.

Jenny is meanwhile being chatted up by a perfectly handsome, friendly and intelligent doctor the bride thoughtfully invited mostly to be her maid of honour’s wedding sex. Everything is going well but Connor doesn’t like it a bit because he still gets extremely jealous where Jenny is involved.

The wedding party is in uproar when the bride finally learns that her fiancé and friend slept together, even though it was years ago. The wedding is called off and Connor’s brother is finally also now disappointed in him whereas Connor used to be so wonderful in his eyes. Connor finally knows how wrong he has been in his view of relationships and when it comes to Jenny, because he finally sees how the grief took hold of her. Will he be able to get the bride to reinitiate the wedding and Jenny to give him another chance?

Rating: 4.5/10

I actually had some inclination to watch this and desperately vouched for it in movie night, and it was such a let-down. GoGP manages two fearsome things: it is completely ridiculous and completely unrealistic at the same time.

Matthew McConaughey has a depressing resume of horrible rom coms. It is maddening – he is a good actor with really good roles under his belt, but some of the worst romantic comedies I have ever watched came from him, including:

Fool’s Gold,

Sahara,

How to lose a guy in ten days (this one wasn’t that bad, at least it had some foothold in reality),

Magic Mike

Ghost of Girlfriend’s Past was very bad. The movie wasn’t anywhere near romcom perfection but it was watchable, there was enough sarcasm wit and quirky comment to keep me mildly interested and then Emma Stone rocked up, on a bed, and transported herself and Connor through Connor’s dubious dating past. The problem wasn’t Stone herself – she was as amusing as always, but I have never witnessed a worst attempt at any time travel related activities.

I really like Jennifer Garner plenty and thought she did the best with the material that was given to her. She really has the look that Jenny needed – clever, confident, calm and classy. I enjoyed Jenny’s wit and her hold over Connor.

I did enjoy one thing: to me this movie showed how perception influences every single decision in your life and how even when your information is wrong it can completely have an adverse effect on your emotional maturity.

GoGP is once again a movie with a star studded cast that had absolutely no chance of succeeding because of an unimaginative and ridiculously boring script. I mean, not even Michael Douglas was enough to save this.

Recommendation: just don’t.